Sunday 10 February 2019

The Birth of Our Littlest Baby Girl

*Warning: This post contains very graphic documentation of my birth experience, which may result in significant stress reactions in some mums-to-be. Reader's discretion is advised.

As I entered into the third trimester of pregnancy and approaching the Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD) of 12 Feb, I started to feel a sense of dread that I did not have for my first two pregnancies. As you know, things did not go as I had expected the last time I was in the delivery suite giving birth to my boy. The epidural I was given did not work in time and till date, I can still remember the intense pain of every contraction and it still gives me the shivers!

So, although my tummy was getting so big that it had become extremely uncomfortable for me, I was still not enthusiastic about getting her out.

I told the baby to hold off coming into the world till after the third day of CNY, as that's when my doctor will be back from leave. She's a good girl; she listened to me 😊

On 7 Feb, we had fully expected to go into labour any time in the next few days so I stayed home as much as I could in preparation for delivery. We were hoping that baby will be born on 9 Feb 2019 as it was an easy date to remember.

However, 9 Feb came and went without any signs of labour except for occasional cramps that I've been feeling on and off the whole of the third trimester. I was starting to think that maybe she will be born on her EDD instead.

That night on 10 Feb 2019, I was awoken at 2.30am with very bad abdominal pain. Initially it felt like a bad case of diarrhoea so I went to the toilet and thought I could go back to sleep afterwards. That was not to be because the pain intensified and I immediately recognised the feeling. I was having contractions.

I looked at the clock; it was now around 3.30am. I thought that maybe I could sleep through the earlier part of contractions like I did for my earlier two pregnancies but the contractions were relentless. One contraction was occurring every 10 minutes.

By about 4am, the contractions were once every 5 minutes and I knew we had to get to the hospital ASAP. I quickly took a bath and informed the hubby and Mum-in-law that the baby was coming!

From experience, I knew that I needed to eat something in order to have the energy to push so the Mum-in-law quickly cooked some instant noodles for me. I could hardly eat as the contractions continued.

Left: Last photo of me pregnant just before we head to the Delivery Suite;
Right: Trying to finish my bowl of instant Noodles at 4.30am. 

At around 5am, after I had called the Delivery Suite to let them know that I was coming, the hubby drove me to the hospital (NUH).

At around 5.15am, I checked into the Delivery Suite. The nurses did the usual checks and the male on-call doctor did a cervical exam, which I hate! Thankfully this was the first time I'm getting my cervix examined for this pregnancy.

The doctor informed me that I was already 8cm dilated! As usual, it was their duty to inform me of my options for pain relief (which I had already memorised by heart) and asked me if I needed the epidural.

To be honest, I strongly contemplated getting the epidural even though I was already so far dilated. The dread of the pain that was to come was a very strong motivation.

However, the hubby reminded me that epidural injections had never gone well for me in the past. Epidural caused me to be unable to push my first baby out as I could not feel anything whilst epidural did not work when I was only 3cm dilated for my second baby. He was quite sure that it will not work this time and deep down, the logical brain in me knew that he was right. Nevertheless, the hubby left the decision entirely to me because I'm the one who has to go through the pain.

While I was still trying to make a decision, the nurse advised me to try breathing the Entonox gas to see if it can help with the pain instead. Although it did not help me when I was having my second baby, she said it could be because I was already in active labour and not able to breathe it correctly and at the right time. The gas also requires some time to work so starting on it early might help.

I finally decided (very bravely too if I might add) to try the gas instead of epidural and prayed to God that the labour will be so fast that the pain will not be long lasting.

Me breathing the gas whenever I started to feel contractions

The nurse was right; this time when I breathed in the gas at the right time and in the correct way, it did help me cope with the contractions. Although it did not take away the pain entirely, it reduced its intensity from a pain rating of 8-9 to a pain rating of 4-5. At least I was able to chit chat with the hubby in between contractions and not already screaming in pain like I did when I was giving birth to baby boy!

At around 6.30am, my doctor Prof Su Lin Lin came to check on how I was doing. When she checked my cervix again (ouch!!! 😖), I had dilated to 9cm and the baby's head was still "high up" which meant that baby wasn't coming out yet. Prof Su advised me to push if I felt like it as I was starting to feel the pressure on my cervix.

From 6.30-7am, the contractions started to intensify to such a degree that even with the gas, my pain rating was 10 out of 10! 😵One of the contractions was so bad that I started pushing and felt a strong pain in my youknowwhere, like pain you feel when passing excrement after 2 weeks of constipation just so much more intense.

The baby's head was probably in view after that contraction, which occurred some time after 7am, and the nurse promptly announced loudly, "call Prof Su! It's time!"

By now I was already screaming, crying and writhing in pain while the nurses tried to encourage me to focus on breathing the gas. I really tried to do what they said but at this point in active labour, no pain relief other than epidural will help!!

While Prof Su and the nurses prepared for the delivery, I was in so much pain I wasn't even fully aware of what's really happening. It was only when Prof Su said with such urgency, "OK push harder the baby's head is coming out!" that I realised that this was it! I pushed and pushed and pushed so hard that it really felt like my youknowwhere was going to explode! Thankfully, after three or four major pushes, the baby was out at 7.21am! Thank you Jesus!

She came out crying with gusto like a healthy baby should! She weighed 3.3kg, slightly smaller than her sister and brother. I was incredibly happy! 😍

The worse part of the process was over but there was still stitching and the placenta that needed to be delivered so the pain was not all over yet. As I had no pain relief other than the gas, I could feel everything, even more than when my epidural did not work during my second delivery. Perhaps the epidural still managed to numb some parts of my body. This time however, certain stitches could still be felt even though my doctor had given me local anesthesia (it felt like multiple injections...).

However, all the pain was well worth it because I looked and felt energetic after the delivery since I did not have to suffer any side effects from epidural such as dizzyness, vomiting, shivering, etc. Really incredibly awesome feeling!

Skin to skin with the newest addition to our family!

I think I looked younger and better than how I had looked after giving birth to my girl 9 years ago (you can go check it out here).

I had to stay in the Delivery Suite for another hour to monitor my blood pressure before they could transfer me to the ward. During this time, baby girl was already smacking and licking her lips so I went ahead to latch her and she started breastfeeding right away.

When the hour was up at around 8.45am, I was taken to the ward at Kent Ridge Wing. There are two types of rooms for private patients: A1 (single bedder) or B1 (4-bedder). I've tried both and of course preferred the A1 for its privacy and spaciousness. Nothing beats having your own toilet!

My single-bedder room

The room was great except for the aircon or lack there of, which could be intentional because they didn't want babies to freeze. However, it was so hot that I was sweating the whole time! 🥵

I requested for the baby to be with me at all times in the room so that I can breastfeed on demand. I know this means that I will have to be very hands on from the start and get very little rest but I'm OK with that if it means that I'll be able to establish my milk supply and gauge her feeding pattern.

While I had my lunch, the hubby went to pick up the rest of the family to come meet their little sister for the first time.

My very healthy meal which I ate hungrily

The kids have been looking forward to meeting their sister for months! They were so happy to see her! 😍

Our first family photo
The grandma and big sister couldn't wait to carry the baby!

The rest of the family also came to visit me throughout the day.

My mum and sister, proud grandma and aunt for the third time! 
Group photo with my family
Group photo with the bro-in-law and sis-in-law
My cousin (left) and colleagues (right)

There were folks who didn't manage to visit us in the hospital because I got discharged the very next day! This was the first time that I had only stayed one night in the hospital! Woohoo!!

Me with the baby alone in our room on the morning of our discharge

Thank you to all for your well-wishes and gifts! We are very blessed!

Gifts from my company, colleagues, church leaders and family

Thankful to Jesus for a smooth delivery and healthy baby girl. I was so grateful that I only needed to stay in the hospital for one night! There is no place like my comfy bed in my own home! ❤️


Just a final note:
I highly recommend Prof/Dr Su Lin Lin if you need a Obstetrician/Gynaecologist. She has delivered all three of my babies and I have seen her grow in her career from a consultant when I started seeing her in 2010 till now as professor and head of department at NUH! She is very patient and chillax, which I like because I'm equally chillax and don't work well with people who are 'gan cheong spiders'. Most importantly, she is good at what she does and I always recover very well after the whole delivery process.


Interestingly, our firstborn is an Independence Day 🇺🇲 baby, our second one is a Christmas 🎄 baby (well almost Christmas anyway) while our third one is a Chinese New Year🧧baby!

Indeed, she's our best red packet of the year! 😁
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